Archives

Macramé sampler

          Once the decision to stop making Macrame to sell to other people was made, my mojo came back enough to feel like making something for myself. I rummaged around in the inevitable boxes of crafting supplies which every crafter gathers and found myself some 9″ square rings to play with. I acquired these when I spent a day wandering around Weymouth on my “Lampshade shenanigans” and came home with the rings from two matching square lampshades, amongst many other different shapes and sizes.

          I had a good stash of beads, and charms galore, a choice of green or brown twine, or natural cotton string, and a selection of a few little favourite trinkets that I’d saved especially for myself.

          I chose the cotton string and some small wooden beads, and started by breaking the square shape into two triangle sections with berry knots on the top left, and some twists decorated with the small beads in the bottom right.

          As with most things I make, when I started I had no idea what I was going to do next or how it would end. After placing the second square frame below the first a few times, I decided to move it over to the right instead of directly below, using half of the remaining strings in the new frame, and leaving the other half over to the left for later.

          As it turned out, once the square was tied on, the next pattern didn’t present itself in my imagination so I actually made the little left panel first. I had a selection of butterfly charms I’d acquired for using on various other designs and after tying off the strings securely at the base of the top square, I knotted the butterflies into a simple panel with an edging I’d used for making a bookmark previously.

          There’s a nail on the wall in my living room where most of my Macrame hangs while it’s being made. I sit drinking my coffee and just smile at it, or I walk past it day after day until the inspiration hits me. Whilst I was happy enough with the butterfly panel, and was looking forward to starting the next square, I couldn’t bring myself to pass further until I had made a decision about the top right section.

          Gravity wasn’t impressed with my idea of knotting from the lower square upwards and I wasn’t happy leaving it empty. Eventually I hit on an idea to defy gravity – I would knot around a length of wire. I used the strings I was knotting onto the top of the next square to secure one end of the wire, then knotting just two pieces of string around the wire, I threaded heart-shaped charms on at regular intervals as I went. Eventually I was suitably satisfied and ended up with a result vaguely resembling a climbing vine.

          Meanwhile, the inspiration arrived for a tree of life in my second square. Not the standard plain symmetrical one though, this was to have dark brown beads, representing leaves, knotted onto the branches, and the trunk was to be way over to the right instead of near the centre, creating an empty space in the design … Where I hung a single long bead on two strings, and made my first swing.

          The knotting of strings is not an exact science. If you were to make the same design over and over again, you could work out roughly how much string to knot onto your start, but since I very seldom know anything in advance, I have to use a great deal of adjustments to the amount of string I use. Adding extra strings to fill a gap is easy, it just needs something to knot onto, taking strings away, or extending them took a bit of working out, and is most easily achieved during a twisted pattern.

          During the making of the tree, I had added long fresh strings to make the branches on the right, these were pulled out for the roots on the right at the base for the outside panel, and the rest were used in the next square where my fingers put together a suitably spiralled design to incorporate any string changes needed.

          In my little stash of charms just for me, I had a lighthouse. Two anemone shapes and a couple of starfish. I used the sea anemones to decorate the spirals and went in search of a few more charms to add to a seaside design.

          I was looking for some clouds and a bit of sunshine for the sky but in the end I settled for a nighttime picture and added stars to the sky instead. The lighthouse was to sit on some rocks made out of Berry knots, and I found a couple of small sail boats to sit on the horizon. The stars turned out well in the sky, because I wove some silver ribbon in between the knots to make the sea, and added a seahorse to the starfish, and a crab and shell on the beach.

          This is how the sampler stayed for many months. My mojo had disappeared again. I busied myself with some “Patchwork“. It didn’t need any thinking and was very repetitive, but that was good. It kept my fingers busy while my brain took a couple of months off.

          All this time, the almost finished knotting just hung on the wall waiting for inspiration until one day I picked it up and tied a few more knots.

          This was to be the bottom square so I had a plan to sort of mirror the top one to draw everything together into one piece instead of lots of little ones. I had a box of large beads, including two with a zebra-like pattern and so I gathered the strings together into thick twists, which again helped me to extend some of the strings which weren’t going to make it to the end.

          I threaded the large beads on and knotted below them to keep them in place, and then secured the twisted knots to a diagonal piece of cotton.

          I took a while to think over the next bit. I wanted the twisted strings to sit vertically, but when I spread them out in place, they left gaps on the diagonal string. At times like this if I had made a plan I would have to change it, but instead I just knotted another two strings into each gap and tied the next knots really tightly, then made a line of spirals to tie the ends in securely so that I could just cut them back off again.

          Happy with the result, I tied everything off at the bottom of the square and combed the single strands out of the cotton to make a fringe.

          I had just one little panel left, this could either make or break the whole thing. I had too many strings so I separated them and set half of them into twists cutting them off… But didn’t like it. They sat for a while until I decided to undo the twists. Undoing knots takes just as long as knotting them, but since I liked the fringe on the bottom of the last square, I made a fringe to match along the top of the panel and brought the remaining strings down behind it…

          I’d had the idea if adding a tiny dreamcatcher here, I dug a tiny ring out of the craft supplies, the top ring from a small lampshade and gathered some feather charms. I decided to use the silver ribbon for the Web and was ready to go.

          I had made a couple of dreamcatchers to sell, but didn’t make many because I didn’t really like the result. I wanted to add just a ittle one here as everything else I’d made was represented but when I came to it, I had to go back to Mr Google for help because I’d forgotten how. I stitched the middle end over and over to secure it. I had always put something in the middle of my others to cover the centre and I think this was my problem. Once the Web was made I knotted it into the remaining strings, wrapped them all tightly around the outside, and freed them at the bottom to be twisted.

          Once I started adding the feather charms I knew I’d cracked it and my fingers finished it off bt themselves.

          The whole caboodle has taken months and months to complete, not sheerly because of the number of knots, admittedly. It hangs at three feet long and just over a foot wide. It’s been good, I’ve enjoyed making it and I’m very happy with the result.

          This particular piece isn’t for sale, maybe one day it will be, but not for a while … In the meantime, I’ve already got a few ideas arriving in my head to play around with next.

          More from before: A little peek further into the world that I’ve “Created“.

Window curtain

          With my “Macramé curtain” completed and ready to hang on the top half of “The Runner’s” Kitchen door, my mind started turning to its slightly smaller counterpart for the window next to it. I had taken measurements for both curtains together and although larger in size, the door window was simpler to start with as I had no window handle to negotiate around.

          I cut both pieces of wood to the right lengths, and bought lots of string and beads to play with. Then, with the net curtain completed, and ready to go… The virus arrived.

          I had the small problem that the lockdown meant the net curtain would have to wait to be delivered, but I could quite happily smile at it on my wall for a while longer. My main problem was that I’d used most of my wooden beads on the first curtain, I didn’t have enough variety left for the second one, and my bead lady had gone into lockdown.

         My Bead Lady told me which keywords to search to find the beads I needed online and I found them easily, but made the mistake of ordering them from China during a pandemic so the delay was even longer than usual.

         Eventually my beads arrived and I started knotting the long lengths of string onto the wood. Finally I was ready to go again, or so I thought, but the virus again had other ideas, my string provider had a supply problem and their shelf was empty. I was to be delayed again until new stock could be acquired.

         After many wasted trips to the shop, my string finally came back into stock and I was able to knot the rest of the lengths onto the wood. Thank goodness they didn’t decide to change to a different supplier.

         Off I went again… Starting simple by just dividing the strings into groups and knotting two diamonds to start the symmetrical design.

          They say its OK to make mistakes, so long as you learn from them… Not something I do very often, but instead of needing to add a small panel on each side this time, as the weight started to pull the curtain downwards and inwards, I compensated early and tied extra strings on the outsides… That’s the beauty of “progressive planning”, you can quite literally make it up as you go along.

          The window handle wore out more than a few grey cells. Although I had taken measurements of the handle closed, I realised that it needed to be pushed through the curtain to open the window. Eventually with a combination of extra measurements from “the Runner”, combined with measurements of my own window handles I divided the curtain and added some beaded twists for the handle to be pushed through.

          Bringing the curtain down either side of the handle hole was quite simple, I worked on both sides a few knots at a time to keep the symmetry, but wasn’t quite happy with the way things were going.

         Everything stopped and it hung on my wall while I walked past it over and over again waiting for inspiration. Eventually inspiration came from Hubby who said he didn’t like the gap in the middle … I realised I didn’t either and the puzzle began to evolve into extra strings in the centre to turn the two panels back into one curtain.

          Not actually having the window to hand for checking the fit as I went along really didn’t do anything for the confidence levels so I left extra long tassels in the handle gap in the hope to be able to adjust the hole if required when the window curtain finally headed off to its new home.

          After a while, and a bit of knotting and un-knotting, I managed to pull the two sides together and bring the diamond pattern down to a point to vaguely resemble a heart outline. Still not completely happy with the handle hole , I decided to take a ball of string with me for minor adjustments on the day of fitting and move onto the next stage, the beaded strings.

          Having more beads than I needed was a big bonus as I was able to let my imagination play and thread them onto the strings in a cluster making a heart shaped pattern.

          I finished off the bottom with longer than usual tassels incase adjustments were needed at the fitting and made a mental note to take the tools required with me when I would finally put the curtain in place.

          Almost there, just a couple of strings needed on either side to fill the rectangular space and it was ready to go.

          Needless to say, the curtains are both finally hanging in their rightful places by now. I “visited” Little Sister and drank coffee with “the Runner” whilst making the final adjustments for the window handle.

          Here’s a picture sent to me from “the Runner”, I hope she enjoys looking at her curtains as much as I enjoyed making them.

          More from before: A little peek further into the world that I’ve “Created“.

Headboard

          We’ve never quite got around to buying a headboard for our bed. Our room always seems to be the last to be decorated and the patchwork to go with the pine is still very much a “W.I.P“. I saw a headboard a very long time ago made up of two pillows hanging on a curtain pole. I think it was in a hotel we stayed at somewhere so I could probably find the picture hidden away deep in the holiday files. I haven’t quite given up on the idea of making it one one day, but since one day is still a long way off in the distance, and since after decoratjng our room in the old house with cream walls, I was a bit miffed when the dye from the pillowcase left a mark on the wall. When I saw a pine headboard on the Facebook market place for just £20, it would have been rude not to go and get it in preparation for decorating the walls cream again this time.

          I don’t drive, I sometimes think that I would love to drive, but then I remember how long it often takes me to build up the confidence and find a big enough gap to walk across a road, and I take pity on other drivers and stick to the bus or train. However on some occasions, my need for independence outweighs my acceptance that I often need help, and jnstead of asking Hubby to take me somewhere in the car, I walk. This was the case when I went out and about on my “Lampshade shenanigans“, and was also the case when I found my headboard for sale.

          The address given for collection turned out to be just around the corner and down the road a bit. Mr Google reconed I could walk both there and back in under twenty minutes and to be fair he might have been quite close with his timing, but he didn’t take into account my calling into Asda first for some cashback, or the fact that I’d be carrying a double pine headboard on the way back.

          I arrived quite happily at the doorstep to collect the headboard and the lady who answered the door hadn’t brought it downstairs so she called her Hubby to help and I waited, the headboard duly arrived and was exchanged for the pennies I had brought, then the Hubby looked over my shoulder and asked where I was parked. I guess I did seem a bit strange, but he looked astounded when I said I was walking, even more so when I hitched the headboard up under my arm and toddled off down the road in the direction I had come.

          I make up my side of the bed with two pillows, not because I sleep on two pillows, I actually like quite a flat pillow, but because I like a soft surface at the top of my head when I sleep so I lean one pillow against the wall. Of course, a hard pine headboard doesn’t solve this problem at all. However, my original plan for the decoration in the bedroom includes terracotta and cream, and “Patchwork and Pine“. The new (old) pine headboard fits in brilliantly with my scheme and as the patchwork is very much ongoing, I plan to cut a piece of plywood to the same shape as the centre panel, I’ll add a piece of wadding to the front of the wood, then I’ll make a piece of patchwork the right shape to cover the whole caboodle and fix it to the front of the headboard.

          Since my original plan of patchwork curtains in the old house is no longer an option … too much window space … I have a lot of patchwork material to play with, and I’m a big fan of “To match“, so we have two short, fat cushions which we use to prop us up for watching TV or reading in bed, they’ll have a couple of patchwork covers. Then of course, there’s the rocking chair, I couldn’t possibly not make that to match too…..

          From there on, we’re just limited by my imagination.

          More from before : “Finishing and fixing“.